Our conversation was casual and jovial as we talked of my friend’s attempts to quit. Like all of us he had tried and failed on more than one occasion, except he was trying to give up smoking, an addiction I have never had to break.
As we chatted through the failed attempts of the past I said to him that he had never ‘resolved’ to give up. He had never really decided. He had not truly decided that he would never smoke again, and until he did all the quit smoking aids in the world would not help him.
He asked, as I would, “OK then, how do you get resolve?”
Around the same time another friend was losing weight (36kg in 6 months to be exact). He had lost weight before, he had tried and failed on more than one occasion, only this time something was different.
This time he has resolve.
I can hear it in his words. I can see it in his eyes; there is a steely-eyed determination to make this stick.
Resolve is different to self-discipline. Resolve is a determination and self-discipline is the habits that keep you on track.
Having been asked, “How do you get resolve?” my answer at the time was simple. I don’t know. I know when I have it, but I don’t know how to make people get it.
From my experience however the progression towards resolve goes a little something like this:
1) Know the Change.
If you don’t know you need to change you wont. Knowing an addiction or habit is bad is quite different from knowing it is incredibly bad for YOU.
2) Know the Future.
Maybe this is a specific goal like a target weight; maybe it’s knowing you will be a better leader by changing a habit. In any case you need to appreciate how the future you will be. Some could call this a goal, or a dream.
3) Know the Support.
Before you get resolve, somehow you need to know you have the people, tools or support to get you through. Giving up smoking if everyone around you smokes is almost impossible. Trying to lose weight without tracking what you eat, wont happen.
However, if you know you have supportive people, smoking patches, food diaries, whatever before you start, you are far more likely to succeed.
4) Now Decide.
Now the key to resolve is deciding. At some point you need to be by yourself, know change is needed, know what you want, know you have support and then decide.
No one can do this for you, and I wish I could tell you how to decide, but I cant.
I do know from personal experiences to lose weight, exercise regularly for the rest of my life, make decisions quicker, reduce debt or lead better, that it takes full resolve to get through.
A half-hearted resolution is not resolve. To have resolve is to commit fully. In hindsight and somewhat strangely I can tell you exactly where I was when I made most of my big decisions.
Even the language of a resolved person is more determined. I will always do… I will never … For the rest of my life … For the next 30 days I will…
The rest is easy easier.
Once you have resolve you will still have bad days, still be lured to old patterns and often struggle with the task at hand.
Habits need to be changed after all and changing habits takes time. But once you have resolve something in your core has changed. The default is different. Your self-talk is different and you slowly but surely make it.
My friend has stopped smoking. Both friends have resolve. I didn’t give it to them. They decided for themselves and it has been life changing.
I hope you shoot for your goals.
I hope you get the resolve you need to change.
I hope your life is changed.
And if I can help in any way I would love to chat.